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Soccer's hottest rivalry takes over Mercer intramural sports

Wesley and Gams and MSPCS play a game of intramural soccer at Mercer University.
Wesley and Gams and MSPCS play a game of intramural soccer at Mercer University.

In Spain, they have El Clasico. In England, they have the Manchester Derby. At Mercer, there’s a new soccer rivalry taking off between two teams with mutual friends and lots of smack talk.

Kanye2020 and American Toast Mafia are on a collision course to meet for the third time this season. This time, they’ll meet in co-rec intramural soccer playoffs.

The first match ended in a 4-3 win for American Toast Mafia aided by an own goal by Kanye2020.

“In all of the chaos, we ended up kicking it our own goal and that’s how American Toast Mafia won that game,” said Justis Ward, a member of Kanye2020. “It was not like they blew us out of the water.”

The second time around the two teams fought to a 3-3 draw. Ward said he is confident that if they square off again in the playoffs there is only one logical outcome.

“We lost the first one, we drew the second one and so all that can happen is to win the third one,” Ward said. “I hope they are ready because we have experienced our heartbreak.”

Brittany Mueller of American Toast Mafia is also geared up for the rematch against Ward and company. While the chance at an Intramural title and a new t-shirt is something both teams want, this rivalry is all about the chance to talk trash after the win.

“We have all known each other — a lot of people are seniors — we are trying to go basically for bragging rights,” Mueller said. “Winning for the shirt is nothing compared to trying to win this rivalry.”

The teams have many mutual friends and have been playing intramural sports for now four years together. The chance to compete against friends is often times more fun that being on the same team, one of the few things the two rivals agreed on.

“You feel more comfortable smack talking. Of course, if we were playing a bunch of strangers smack talking they might dock us on the sportsmanship rating.” Ward said. “When you have a group full of friends, everyone is laughing, but at the same time we are kind of serious because we are very competitive.”

While individuals on each team have played against each other throughout the four years, this is the first time this particular combination of players have formed two teams, which sparked the inevitable rivalry between the two.[pullquote speaker="Brittany Mueller, American Toast Mafia" photo="" align="right" background="on" border="none" shadow="off"]I only play with trash talk especially if it's someone like, say, Justis or Sam [Dunton]. I greet them with trash talk.[/pullquote]

“I think that we have always talked smack with each other and we have never really had two teams come together in order for the rivalry to happen,” Mueller said. “I only play with trash talk especially if it's someone like, say, Justis or Sam [Dunton]. I greet them with trash talk.”

As the rivalry began to stew, even naming the teams became a game of one-upmanship for Ward. The goal was to try and make their name stand out more than “American Toast Mafia.”

“So we were all trying to think of a unique name and we don’t like less-than-unique names, so when your rival is American Toast Mafia — something that is super unique — we had to one-up them,” Ward said. “Kanye announced that he would run for president in 2020, so that’s where we got the name.”

While they are named after the rapper’s potential White House bid, Ward says this is not an endorsement and would only vote for Kanye if the other candidate was worse. With the selection of Kanye2020, they believe they have already won at least one game over American Toast Mafia — the name game.

Mueller’s team got their name after a split from the original team that she had been a part of over the last few seasons, the French Toast Mafia. When the team split, they wanted to make sure they played under a similar name and settled on an American version of the breakfast favorite.

“Since there was too many people on the team, we had to go our separate ways,” Mueller said. “So we thought, ‘Instead of French Toast Mafia, why don’t we call it American Toast Mafia because we live in America.’”

Regardless how co-rec soccer ultimately plays out, this rivalry is far from over, as the two teams could potentially square off in other sports down the line.

“If she were to play something co-rec and I were to play something co-rec and our teams ended up being around the same people, there is a very high possibility that this rivalry will continue,” Ward said.

Mueller encourages people to come out and watch all the intramural playoff games as well the championship game that will take place on Oct. 4 on Black Field.

“This night is honestly for everyone,” Mueller said. “Watch American Toast Mafia kick some butt and take home the championship and the t-shirt, because we're really the main event here.”



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